Tofu stuffed with toasted sesame, almonds, sorrel and chili

1 Jul

Tofu stuffed with toasted sesame, almonds, sorrel and chili

I taught a cookery class the other day and after I had introduced the dishes a gentleman who told me knew the general drill asked, “So where is the protein”. As I explained where the protein was and how in a vegetarian diet that is varied and borrows recipe from the world, there is plenty of delicious and nutritious variety…look at the pulses, tofu, lentils…

You know what followed don’t you? Yes, there was an upheaval of the ‘tofu is dull and sanctimonious’ debate.

Tofu stuffed with toasted sesame, almonds, sorrel and chili
1. Tofu is bland
a. A blank canvas more like! Is a potato bland? Well of course it is if you just boil it and eat it on its own. Tofu is inviting you to soak it, marinade it, dress it, bake it, fry it, scramble it; for goodness sake just do something to it. Nobody is asking you to eat naked slivers of spongy pointlessness as your main meal. Have you ever put it in a curry? It soaks up the juices and then releases them in succulent and generous bursts in each mouthful. Have you ever marinated it? It catches essences like a long-lost embrace. Have you scrambled it with some spices and veg-you won’t miss the egg!
2. Tofu is expensive
a. Is a block of tofu more expensive than a steak or chicken for a family dinner?
3. Tofu mushes up too quickly
a. Wrap it up in kitchen paper and leave it to stand for a 15 minutes if you are using firm tofu to shallow fry or in a curry and if you are using silken tofu then add them into a stock rather than when stir-frying vegetables.
4. I can just eat meat for the protein
a. Yes of course. Tofu is an protein source for a) those want to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet b) those who cutting down on meat to enjoy health benefits c) those who want to address food shortages in the developing world d) those who want to positively influence the environment
5. I don’t like the texture of tofu
a. Not sure I would be if I just ate it as it is. I like it shallow fried and then spiced and doused with soy, rice wine vinegar and chili. When I have friends over I sometimes deep fry it and they became crisp with a lovely chewiness inside and I add them to noodle soups and sometimes we assemble our own. I make, Vietnamese spring rolls where I use tofu in a slippery bite, and then there are kofta, which are spongy and juicy. Do you like scrambled eggs? Then you will like spiced and scrambled tofu in a pitta or wrap.

Funnily enough when I asked for feedback half the group asked for another class demonstrating different techniques on preparing and cooking tofu. Well…

You could use this recipe on your next barbecue and here a few of my other recipes for tofu if you haven’t already seen them

crispy chaat masala tofu salad with tamarind chutney and yogurt dip

tandoori tofu and cauliflower tacos

hot and spicy tofu, alfalfa sprouts and asparagus Vietnamese spring rolls

soy-masala tofu, quinoa, avocado and mozzarella salad

One block of firm tofu (I used the cauldron pack)
20g sesame seeds
60g almonds
2 tbsp. agave nectar
One large red chilli, finely chopped
1 tbsp. sesame oil
Salt to taste
A few dashes of your favorite chili sauce
40g sorrel leaves
For the dressing
5 tbsp. light soy sauce
2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 tsp. chili oil
1. Wrap the tofu in kitchen paper and rest it until the excess moisture has been soaked up.
2. Toast the almonds and sesame seeds until they lightly brown and the seeds begin to pop before taking them off the heat.
3. Place the sesame seeds, almonds, sorrel, agave, oil, chili, salt, chili sauce all in a food processor and grind it to a paste.
4. Slit the tofu open by making 4-5 lines across the tofu and then fill them as deeply as possible without breaking the tofu block but try and hit the bottom.
5. Lightly grease a non-stick pan and then place the tofu and cook until browned, a little charring is quite pleasant so don’t worry.
6. When once side is browned, flip it over and repeat. I usually start with the un-slit side first
7. Drizzle over some of the dressing and serve immediately- you will get the best effects when the tofu is still hot.

30 Responses to “Tofu stuffed with toasted sesame, almonds, sorrel and chili”

  1. Traditionally Modern Food July 1, 2014 at 9:09 pm #


  2. simplyvegetarian777 July 2, 2014 at 1:29 am #

    Amazing! My family is a tofu fan. Use tofu in so many ways and quite similar to yours :). Beautiful recipe.

  3. Katie @ Whole Nourishment July 2, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

    Ha, I just love the protein questions we get. 😉 On a varied veg diet protein is usually not the problem. But we are in a protein-obsessed society, so this is hard to convey, but in my opinion we should all (vegetarians or not) be more focused on getting enough iron, calcium, and omega 3s. You have so many creative ideas for tofu, and this one is no exception!

    • Deena Kakaya July 2, 2014 at 5:59 pm #

      You know that’s exactly what I focus on whilst raising a vegetarian toddler-the Iron mainly! I find the whole protein fixation a little exhausted now x

  4. duodishes July 2, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

    There are people who do not like tofu, of course, but there’s a high chance most of them have never had it in an impressive way. Good flavors in this one with the chilies, soy sauce and chili oil.

  5. Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy July 2, 2014 at 5:10 pm #

    I love tofu and I don’t know why I don’t use it more. I like what you wrote about it being a blank canvas – so true.

    • Deena Kakaya July 2, 2014 at 5:57 pm #

      Thanks Dannii, glad that you agree! What’s your fave way to use it? X

  6. Sally July 3, 2014 at 8:49 am #

    I am determined to cook tofu in a way that my vegetarian daughter will like. I’ve tried, she’s tried but not there yet. Maybe this recipe will do it.

    • Deena Kakaya July 3, 2014 at 9:19 am #

      Hi Sally, I hope that this will do it! What is that your daughter doesn’t like about tofu-the taste or texture? My anti-tofu friends seem to like it when it is fried then chucked into a juicy curry x

  7. kellie anderson July 3, 2014 at 9:13 am #

    As always, a cracking recipe! I think this will convert a few tofu-phobes and delight the rest of us. Pinning and will try and make this soon. Lovely to see your sorrel in it. Much better than my IG suggestion of pesto 😉 PS I tend to marinate and bake tofu, keeping some extra in the fridge to add to other things in the week (one of my recipes on it coming soon – awful pictures though).

    • Deena Kakaya July 3, 2014 at 9:17 am #

      Thank you so much Kellie…Some people have told me this pic looks like steak!

      Actually, the idea of pesto is what got me thinking of the stuffing…sorrel, nuts, oil etc 😉 so thank you xx

      Sonal (above) mentioned baking it too, which I less frequently do. I’m looking forward to seeing your recipe and even the pics you say look bad are gorgeous. I bet that if you wrote a book, you could do your own pics 😉 xx

  8. recipesfromapantry July 3, 2014 at 11:05 am #

    Fell in love with this via instagram and still love it now.

    • Deena Kakaya July 3, 2014 at 11:17 am #

      Thanks Bintu, I do enjoy Instagram (more than twitter) and it’s funny rust someone thought this looks like steak 😉 x

  9. Joanne July 3, 2014 at 11:40 am #

    I’m a tofu LOVER and this stuffed one sounds amazing! Love all that spice.

    • Deena Kakaya July 3, 2014 at 8:28 pm #

      Thanks Joanne, so lovely to hear that from you, as a tofu lover. X

  10. themuffinmyth July 3, 2014 at 2:12 pm #

    I love your rebuttals to the ‘tofu is bland’ statement! Well said! And this recipe… that blog of tofu looks just crammed with flavour! I’d love to throw the whole thing on the grill and dig into it hot and crispy. Great recipe!

    • Deena Kakaya July 3, 2014 at 2:54 pm #

      Thanks Katie! I just get asked the whole protein thing so much! The grill idea sounds great, think I might do it too xx

  11. Abbie July 3, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

    This tofu looks amazing! I love all the colors going on here.

    • Deena Kakaya July 3, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

      Thanks Abbie! It’s surprisingly filling and easy to cook too. X

  12. Claudia ~ Food with a View July 3, 2014 at 8:25 pm #

    You are so right with your laudation on tofu! I love it, too, and both your method and ingredients for stuffing sound delicious, Deena.

    • Deena Kakaya July 3, 2014 at 8:28 pm #

      Thanks so much Claudia! Great feedback from someone who loves tofu x

  13. thespicyrd July 7, 2014 at 5:53 am #

    Beautiful dish Deena! I’ve never tried stuffing tofu before, but it sounds divine! We don’t eat a rom of tofu at our house, but we do from time to time, and, luckily, my family will (usually) eat it 🙂 Cant wait to try this!

    • Deena Kakaya July 7, 2014 at 6:31 am #

      Hello lovely spicy one, great to hear from you. I don’t stuff tofu much either and I was preparing it, the tofu received a few curious frowns! However, it was surprisingly popular and so filling! Do let me know if you try it x

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